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Penn State Football: Nittany Lions Hang On for Win at Indiana

by on October 20, 2018 7:25 PM

By Derek Bannister and Geoff Rushton

On a windy Saturday in Bloomington, Penn State nearly saw a fourth quarter lead slip away once again, but held on for a 33-28 win over Indiana.

Leading by 12, the Nittany Lions (5-2, 2-2) allowed the Hoosiers (4-4, 1-4) to drive down field and score with 49 seconds left in the game. Indiana then recovered the ensuing onside kick, but led by defensive end Shaka Toney the Penn State defense stiffened and closed out the victory.

Quarterback Trace McSorley passed for 220 yards and ran for 107. Toney had six tackles, four sacks and forced a fumble.

How It Happened

KJ Hamler started the game off with a bang, returning the opening kick 56 yards all the way to the Indiana 36. Miles Sanders made a big gain off of a wheel route to bring the Nittany Lions within a few yards of the end zone. After McSorley brought the ball down to the 1-yard line, Sanders punched it in for a touchdown.

The Hoosiers responded quickly, though, going 75 yards on eight plays to tie things up at 7-7 with 10:18 to play in the first quarter.

Penn State struggled for the rest of the quarter, failing to put up any points and punting twice before a turnover on downs. With 1:06 remaining in the quarter, however, the Hoosiers took a 14-7 lead after Ronnie Walker waltzed through the defense for a 30-yard touchdown run.

In the second quarter, the Nittany Lions came out struggling. McSorley searched for Mac Hippenhammer downfield, but the redshirt freshman couldn’t bring the ball down and it fell into the arms of an Indiana defender for an interception. 

On Penn State's next drive McSorley broke out for a 44 yard gain. Pen State then dialed up some trickery as Tommy Stevens entered the game. Stevens faked a handoff to McSorley before finding tight end Pat Freiermuth down the sideline for a 23-yard touchdown. The two teams were tied up at 14 with 10:08 to play in the half. 

Jake Pinegar added a field goal with 6:27 remaining in the quarter to give Penn State a 17-14 lead which it would take into the half. Penn State put up 254 yards of total offense against Indiana’s 284. The Hoosiers also out-rushed the Nittany Lions 145 to 83.

On the opening drive of the second half, PJ Mustipher forced a fumble after Indiana had been driving down the field. Garrett Taylor jumped on the loose ball, but Penn State could only get a field goal from the drive. The Nittany Lions took a 20-14 lead with 7:16 remaining in the third quarter.

The Hoosiers struck back with 4:01 to play in the third quarter after Stevie Scott rushed in a three-yard touchdown to cap off an 81-yard drive. Jonathan Thomas nearly returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown going 94 yards before get edged out of bounds. McSorley ran the ball in five yards for a score. The point after was blocked, but the Nittany Lions took a 26-21 lead.

With 11:52 remaining in the game, Jonathan Sutherland forced a fumble recovered by Nick Scott on an Indiana punt return. McSorley made the Hoosiers pay with a rushing touchdown to give Penn State a 33-21 lead with 10:25 remaining in the game.

But Penn State couldn't salt it away and with just 49 seconds remaining, Indiana’s Peyton Ramsey found J-Shun Harris for a 21-yard touchdown pass to make it 33-28.

Indiana's onside kick failed to go 10 yards, but Penn State had called a timeout just before the kick. On the re-kick, the ball again failed to go 10 yards, but touched a Penn State player and the Hoosiers recovered.

Despite the recovery near midfield, the Hoosiers went backwards with a holding call and a Toney sack. On the game's final play, quarterback Peyton Ramsey through incomplete and the Hoosiers were called for holding, sealing the win for Penn State.

What’s Next

Penn State will return home on Oct. 27 for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Iowa.

Derek Bannister is a writer for Onward State.
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